Clayton Kershaw Returns to Dominance; Bullpen Continues to Struggle


Dodgers 8 14 1

Nationals 3 12 2

WP- Kershaw (2-0)

LP- Treinen (0-1)

HR- Ramirez (4), Butera (2)

Clayton Kershaw returned to the mound on Tuesday night, and he started up right where he left off. Dominant as ever, Kershaw pitched 7 shutout innings and allowed 9 hits with 9 strikeouts and no walks on 89 pitches. He had all his pitches working for him during the game including his killer curve. It was so refreshing to see Kershaw pitch again, even though the good feelings were almost erased when the bullpen took over in the eighth inning.

May 6, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) pitches during the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Perez struggled again, and he couldn’t get through the eighth inning after allowing 3 runs on 3 hits with 3 walks. Luckily the Dodgers had accumulated eight runs to that point, because Perez’s erratic pitching made me nervous even with the large lead.

The Dodgers’ offense took advantage of Blake Treinen‘s MLB debut as well as the Nat’s shaky bullpen and defense. A solo homerun by Hanley Ramirez, a three-run homerun by Drew Butera, and a multitude of hits from the top of the lineup gave the Dodgers the decisive edge. Crawford and Ramirez each had three hits on the night, and each of the starters had at least one base hit except for Scott Van Slyke who came up empty.

Kenley Jansen came in for the bottom of the ninth and looked like his usual dominant self as well which was a pleasant reprieve from the constant bullpen woes the Dodgers have dealt with this road trip.

Here’s how the Dodgers tied up the series…

The Dodgers are done in the first two innings after double plays in each. Carl Crawford singles in the first, but Hanley grounds into the DP. Kemp and Ethier hit back-to-back singles in the second, but Uribe grounds into a DP as well. Clayton Kershaw allows a single to Denard Span and Jayson Werth in the bottom of the first and a single to Scott Hairston in the second, but he is able to squelch any Washington offense thereafter in each of the first two frames.

Blake Treinen goes to work in the top of the third, and he strikes out Drew Butera to start things off. Kersh grounds out in his first at-bat. Gordon fouls out, and the Dodgers go down 1-2-3.

Kershaw strikes out both Jose Lobaton and Blake Treinen in the third, and Kershaw is back to domination with three whiffs so far on the

May 6, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Blake Treinen (64) pitches during the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

night. Span flies out to CC in left to end the 1-2-3 inning.

Matt Kemp collects his second single of the game in the top of the fourth, but the Dodgers can’t muster much else.

In the home half of the fourth, the Nats are starting to swing hard. Anthony Rendon leads off with a single, and Jayson Werth singles deep to short. Hanley made a good attempt to stop the ball, but Werth runs well and beat out the throw. Uribe makes a nice play to grab a foul ball which no one else was able to get to for the first out. Hairston strikes out swinging. Kersh pulls a beautiful curveball to strike out Desmond, and the threat is vanquished. Oh how I’ve missed Public Enemy #1!

Treinen sets the Dodgers down in order once again in the top of the fifth.

Treinen also collects a single off Kersh with two out in the bottom of the fifth, but Kershaw takes care of Espinosa, Lobaton, and Span so no damage done.

The Dodgers have one of the luckiest and bloopiest innings I have seen in awhile in the top of the sixth. Kershaw reaches on an error by Treinen on a bobbled comebacker. Another bobble by LaRoche on a grounder by Gordon gives the Dodgers two on and nobody out. That’s ruled a single for Dee. Crawford dribbles the littlest base hit you’ve ever seen, and the Dodgers have the bases loaded. Hanley singles to right field, and the Dodgers plate their first run of the series! That’s going to be the end of the line for Treinen. Craig Stammen will come out of the Washington bullpen in relief, and the bases remain loaded with nobody out. Kemp strikes out. Gordon comes in to score on a Fielder’s Choice by Ethier who didn’t get the ball 4 call on a pitch which looked way outside. Uribe bloops a broken bat single in front of Hairston in left, and Crawford plates the Dodgers third run of the inning!

Blake Treinen lasted five innings and allowed 3 runs on 6 hits with 2 strikeouts and no walks on 72 pitches.

May 6, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) make a bare hand grab during the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

In the bottom of the sixth, Rendon leads off with a single for the Nats. With Werth at-bat, Kershaw picks off Rendon at first! Werth singles to right, and the scruffy outfielder is 3-for-3 against Kersh tonight. LaRoche singles for the third hit in a row against Kershaw by the Nats. Kersh strikes out Hairston. Kershaw strikes out Desmond with a nasty slider, and the inning is over.

Drew Butera has a painful at-bat to lead-off the seventh. He fouls a pitch off the side of his face, and then he is hit by a pitch. He toughs it out, and later on Butera would come up huge. Kersaw, trying to bunt, grounds into a double play. Then Gordon proceeds to triple to the gap! I love watching him fly around the bases. The Nationals muck another one up as Scott Hairston drops a fly ball hit by Crawford. Gordon easily scores, and the Dodgers are up 4-0. Crawford is caught stealing second with Hanley at-bat.

The Dodgers make their obligatory error in the bottom of the seventh when Hanley can’t handle a ball hit by Espinosa, but the mistake is quickly erased as Lobaton grounds into a double play. Kevin Frandsen singles, but Kersh strikes out Span to end the inning.

Ross Detwiler comes in to pitch in the top of the eighth. Hanley, who was angry at himself for committing that fielding error, crushes a solo homerun to center field! Dodgers up 5-0. Kemp draws a walk, and Ethier legs out an infield single. Still nobody out. Uribe pops out. SVS pops out. Then if things couldn’t be any worse for the Nats at this point in the game, the catcher Drew Butera hits a three-run homerun to left field! That’s Drew’s second homerun this road trip and just his seventh career homerun. Dodgers take a commanding 8-0 lead.

Chris Perez comes in to relief Kershaw in the bottom of the eighth, and the bullpen horror show begins its

Yasiel Puig was out of the lineup for the second day after crashing into the wall at Marlins Park on Sunday. Photo: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

nightly show. He immediately serves up a triple to Rendon. Kemp tries to scale the wall to make the catch, but his timing his off. Werth singles in a run, and there goes the shutout. Tyler Moore walks. Hairston flies out for the first out of the inning. Desmond walks, and the bases are loaded. Then he strikes out Espinosa. Charley Steiner describes Perez as “a model of consistency.” Rick Honeycutt goes out to talk to Perez. Predictably Lobaton smokes a line drive to right field, and two more runs come in. Perez walks another batter, pinch-hitter Zach Walters. Don Mattingly will finally hook Perez who made 34 fateful pitches in the inning. Jamey Wright will come in with the bases loaded two outs, and he gets the job done by inducing an inning ending comebacker from Span.

Aaron Barrett will pitch the top of the ninth for Washington. Gordon strikes out. Crawford and Hanley hit consecutive singles. Matt Kemp strikes out for the second time of the night. Ethier grounds out.

It’s up to Kenley Jansen to shut the door on the Nats in the bottom of the ninth. Rendon, who is 2-for-3 on the night with a triple and two singles, strikes out against Jansen. Werth lines out to Kemp. Moore grounds out to short, and Kenley has a very nice 1-2-3 inning.

Dodgers improve to 19-15 on the season, and tomorrow the series finale will be an early morning 10:05 a.m. battle between Dan Haren and Stephen Strasburg.